Chief Vann House; Dalton, GA

Highly educational restored home that will blow away historically inaccurate, Hollywood based, preconceived notions of who Native Americans were in the early 1800’s.

If you are in the area and have little hard knowledge regarding the original inhabitants of what is now the United States of America, than I strongly suggest a visit to this historic house if only because it may help to destroy some of your misconceptions regarding who the Cherokee were at the time of the trail of tears (1838-1839).

Most Westerners (and in this I include Americans and Europeans), based on what they have learned from Hollywood films, etc., seem to believe that all Native Americans were backward, or refusing to integrate into western society and that was the reason they were moved westward to what was called the “Indian Territories”, but this is woefully incorrect. In actuality, the reason the native inhabitants were removed had more to do the the recent discover of gold in their lands in 1829.  The historic location I visited today is the restored home of Chief Van, a Native American so rich that he owned at least 100 slaves, a bunch of paddle wheel river boats, many trading posts, etc.

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He was one of the influential Native Americans of the time who were using the American Judicial system to fight for the rights of his people, and with varying degrees of success in that regard (think of this as the first time that America Judiciary and the southern states came into direct conflict with each other — a pattern later repeated with civil rights, abortion, and then gay rates, et al). In spite of all of his wealth, and power, he made the major tactical error of hiring a white overseer when it was illegal for an Indian to do so (the states had been passing laws restricting the rights of native Americans that were not all that dissimilar to the segregation laws after the civil law, or to what Hilter later did to the Jews in Germany) thereby giving the federal government cause to kick him out along with the rest of the Cherokee during the trail of tears (only he took all of his furniture, slaves, etc. with him and continued to be very rich).

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The house is SO fancy that it had a floating staircase and a fancy interior paint job with pigments most people of the day could never have afforded, and president Monroe had spent the night there when visiting the area.

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After I leaving the house I drove past the first swamp I saw in Georgia. According to the  docent at the Vann house, Spring Place which is the town where the house is located is the poorest part of the state, I guess this was the proof.

 

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